January 20, 2023: Looking Ahead…Inspiration is key

Greetings dear readers! While thinking ahead into the new year and what my hopes and desires for quilting might be, I realized that this March marks the 30th anniversary of my decision to make my first quilt. 30 years!! It’s been a wonderful journey with a profound impact on my life, for which I am incredibly grateful. I keep up with the quilting world, closely, in many ways – blogs, Instagram, magazines, books, videos, a subscription to “The Quilt Show,” etc. The many changes in quilting over those 30 years have been striking, especially technological advances in tools and communication and in design aesthetics. We seem to be in a “Modern” quilt making movement – whatever that means, exactly!! – at the moment, with “traditional” quilt making hanging in there, but perhaps struggling just a bit to stay in the limelight, and plenty of art quilters out there doing amazing work. What has connected us all and continues to connects us is a love of textiles and stitching.

I’ve thought quite a bit about where I fit in all of this. I consider myself to be a “traditional quilt artist” because my style is traditional and I love to use traditional quilt blocks and designs, but I love to play with those blocks, play with colors, play with fabrics, and combine all those elements in ways to create my own design variations, rather than use commercial patterns most of the time. I feel that I am able to express myself artistically through “traditional” quilt making.
I question sometimes, though, whether I’m in a rut and should explore making art or modern quilts, but even though I admire many of them, my heart and mind generally aren’t inspired in that direction. I think it’s as simple as that – I need to keep going where I’m inspired to go!! So, that’s my overarching goal for the year – to be open to inspiration and to try to make sure I find the time and space to act on that inspiration. It also makes sense to continue with last year’s goals: explore, play, progress, and finish! Rather than give a laundry list of specific projects that need progress and finishes this year in this blog, I’ll cover those things gradually throughout the year.

Another goal is to spend plenty of time with the quilting community – my guild, my bee, shows, workshops, retreats, etc. I also want to try to make more donation quilts. Many of you know there will be no more “Monthly Minis.” When Wendy (The Constant Quilter) announced the end of her hosting it after 5 years, I’d already decided I was taking a break from it to focus on getting other projects done. Many thanks to Wendy for hosting so long!! I think I will always make small quilts, but now, instead of monthly, it will be just when I’m inspired!🙂

Of course, one of my clear goals for 2023 is to finish “Sweet Journeys.” I try to get some hand quilting done every day. I completed another block:

I am intermittently adding stitching to the center medallion:

I also intermittently add rows of stitching to the border, but won’t bore you with another photo of that yet. The point is, it all starts to add up to significant progress!

The INSPIRATION I received from the Tomie Nagano exhibit is driving me right along to make more log cabin blocks. Since I last posted, I’ve gone from 4 blocks done to 20!!

Closeups of the newer blocks:

Making these blocks has been a challenge in the importance of “value” in creating the design. There are definitely some “in between” fabrics whose placement has to be carefully considered. Luckily, this design is pretty forgiving for some of the outliers.

Some of the “taupe” fabrics have the vibe of “reproduction” fabrics; some pieces from my other stash of Asian fabrics fit; some subtle solids work. I’m able use some pieces from other parts of my stash so it’s been fun combing through them adding to the variety I can include.

Here’s what my design wall looks like right now:

I’m currently liking the “Sunshine and Shadows” setting for the LC blocks, but no idea whether that’s how they’ll wind up. I just saw this quote in my reading, “Wisdom sees that light and dark are inseparable and that shadows are also light.” If I stick with this variation, “Inseparable” might be a name for it!
I’ve got 14 new baskets in the works, currently appliquéing handles before sewing the pieces together.

I’m sharing 2 more quilts today from the Nagano exhibit:

Beautiful fabrics, beautiful stitching! And the fact that these are all pieces of clothing that someone wore adds real meaning to the piece.

I have to include some recent Earthly Delights!

I just finished 2 very enjoyable books and I recommend both.

“West With Giraffes” was my book group selection because we wanted something light to read over the holidays and it fit the bill perfectly. We all enjoyed the story of 2 giraffes from Africa being transported across the country in 1938 from NYC to the San Diego Zoo – lots of adventure along the way, based on a true story. “Lessons in Chemistry” was fabulous and, though the issues it deals with are serious, much of it was laugh-out-loud funny. Don’t miss it!

Hope your 2023 is going well!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi

22 thoughts on “January 20, 2023: Looking Ahead…Inspiration is key

  1. Marie January 20, 2023 / 3:33 pm

    Really enjoyed today’s post, here in Ontario, Canada.

    • gladiporsche January 20, 2023 / 9:51 pm

      Thank you Marie!

  2. 107sophie January 20, 2023 / 5:16 pm

    Gladi – Thank you for another wonderful post. Each day when one arrives in my mailbox, I work my way through every other email, saving yours for last to savor it . Each one it such a special treat and today’s was a perfect exemplar. Always enjoy hearing about your plans and what inspires you; the quilts that have a strong direction and the ones that keep changing course. Love seeing the progress on “Sweet Journeys” – it continues on it’s journey to an incredible masterpiece. I always enjoy the photos you share from shows you have attended but I have to say I have found the Tomie Nagano quilts especially inspirational – the colors, the use of light and shadow are just breathtaking. Your nature photography is another side of the inspiration in your entries for the same reason. I was entranced by the beautiful texture and color of the moss cover twigs and the delicate ice on the forest floor. If I had the talent, I would be tempted to replicate them in fabric. Thank you again for sharing so much of your world with us

    • gladiporsche January 20, 2023 / 9:53 pm

      Thank you Sophie for your lovely comments! It pleases me so much to share and know that my efforts to do so are appreciated!

  3. Carol in Texas January 20, 2023 / 5:28 pm

    Gladi, I love your log cabin blocks! Also the baskets, but log cabins are my special favorites. I am so glad you lean toward traditional quilts. They are always my choice. Imagine hand piecing all those tiny squares in the first quilt! Do you hand quilt in a hoop? On the recommendation of a fellow book club member, I read Lessons in Chemistry and did enjoy it. I loved SixThirty! Our group has just finished reading and discussing The Midnight Library. It was an interesting plot. Now we’re on to Agatha Christie…..Then There Were None! I think I’ll put the giraffe book in the suggestion list for next year. Thanks!

    • gladiporsche January 20, 2023 / 9:57 pm

      Thanks Carol! The hand work in Nagano’s quilts amazes me! I am, of course, machine piecing my blocks, but I really hope to have the time to hand quilt it eventually. I do use a hoop for hand quilting – a 14 inch very sturdy square wooden one that I purchased long ago at Keepsake Quilting. Yes, SixThirty was a wonder!😊

  4. Pat in WNY January 20, 2023 / 7:34 pm

    Hi Gladi, I hope this comment will post, have been having difficulty with commenting on some blogs lately. I’ve really enjoyed seeing your posts with Tomie Nagano’s quilts, and your inspired log cabin quilt currently in progress.

    • gladiporsche January 20, 2023 / 9:58 pm

      Thanks so much Pat!

  5. Kelley Secrest January 20, 2023 / 8:46 pm

    Hello Gladi, I love your new log cabin blocks! The fabrics are so delicate and beautiful. I am a traditional quilter who loves the bright, bold fabrics used in modern quilts, however my fabric collection is filled with reproduction fabrics. Thanks for sharing Tomie Nagano’s quilts. I am truly amazed at the impact created with a simple, traditional block. The yellow, light and cheddar pops of color in the indigo quilt! Mother’s Memory and the Double Irish Chain in your last post are both so lovely. To quote the title of your post – Inspiration is key and I am always inspired by you!

    • gladiporsche January 20, 2023 / 10:02 pm

      Thanks Kelley. I am truly enjoying using these Japanese fabrics! I collected a lot of them gradually over the years and it is great having them out to look at and play with. It feels great to occasionally inspire others so thank again for that lovely comment.

  6. Kyle January 21, 2023 / 1:41 pm

    Your post today was filled with beautiful eye candy and much food for thought.

    • gladiporsche January 22, 2023 / 7:49 pm

      Thanks Kyle!

  7. Marsha January 21, 2023 / 4:15 pm

    I really enjoyed your latest posts and your thoughts of your quilting. The log cabin blocks are a treat to look at. It must be the year of log cabins, my niece was planning one over Christmas and got me thinking about making one. Love the baskets blocks too. Your progress on Sweet Journeys is great to see. It is another show stopper. Thanks for sharing the Tomie Nagano’s quilts. Amazing! All those little pieces….Loved the nature pictures. You have sunshine which we are sadly lacking this winter in the Northwest. I thought long and hard over the holidays what my goals for 2023 would be. I usually like to have a year long hand project and make a list of quilts to make. I decided on only three goals this year. Finish UFO’s, use what I have, and work with my rulers more on machine quilting. Happy New Year!

    • gladiporsche January 22, 2023 / 7:51 pm

      Thank you Marsha for reading and commenting! Your 2023 goals sound like good ones. Sending you wishes for some sunny days!😊

  8. Robin January 21, 2023 / 9:15 pm

    Lovely post. I consider myself a traditional quilter too. I like many of the modern fabrics as well as reproduction fabrics but I definitely tend to use them in traditional patterns.
    Sweet Journey is going to be such a beautiful quilt. I love your nature photos – so pretty.

    • gladiporsche January 22, 2023 / 7:55 pm

      Thanks Robin! Agree – I love using some of the newer fabrics in traditional quilts.

  9. marissthequilter January 23, 2023 / 10:19 am

    Modernism is such a slippery concept and term. IMHO it is best to follow one’s heart and to enjoy the process. It certainly works for you — just look at the beautiful work you create. Your design wall is a sight to behold. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • gladiporsche January 27, 2023 / 10:13 pm

      Thanks Mariss, for your kind words! “Slippery” is a perfect word for trying to define modern!! I totally agree that following one’s heart and enjoying the process are the keys to success!

  10. Cynthia @ wabi sabi quilts January 23, 2023 / 5:58 pm

    I love your thoughts about inspiration and just being authentically your own kind of quilter. I think what you are doing (and have done in the past) with Japanese fabrics is just stunning! I always felt that the modern quilt movement was kind of agist… I don’t know if that has changed, it probably has. I just sort of make quilts for people I love, full stop;).

    • gladiporsche January 27, 2023 / 10:17 pm

      Thank you so much Cynthia! I think you may be on to something re the modern quilt movement being populated with “younger “ quilters, especially those that are publishing the books and magazines and certainly running a show like Quilt Con. I hope there is room for all styles and all ages!

  11. Jocelyn Thurston January 23, 2023 / 8:18 pm

    Another lovely, uplifting post, Gladi. While you go to others for inspiration, I always find plenty for these eyes here visiting you. You are so adept at pairing just the right fabrics with the designs. You are an artist indeed. I hope 2023 will be your best quilting year yet!

    • gladiporsche January 27, 2023 / 10:19 pm

      Thanks Jocelyn for reading and for all those kind words! So glad you enjoy the blog; I certainly enjoy yours and am inspired by your projects as well!

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